Scotland fans back Flower of Scotland for anthem

Scotland fans have voted for Flower of Scotland to be the country's recognised national anthem. Picture: SNS
Scotland fans have voted for Flower of Scotland to be the country's recognised national anthem. Picture: SNS
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IT HAS been the Tartan Army’s rallying cry at Scotland’s international football matches for decades.

But the national team’s ­fam­ous supporters only narrowly voted in favour of Flower of Scotland being recognised as the country’s anthem.

The Scottish Football Association has revealed that nearly 56 per cent of supporters polled over the past few days want the classic Corries’ song to be given official recognition.

More than 35,000 supporters took part in an online survey, conducted through the official Scotland Supporters Club and the SFA’s social media networks.

It was launched weeks after MSPs were petitioned to give Flower of Scotland, which has been played before Scotland’s international football matches for almost two decades, official anthem status.

The result of the survey is expected to increase pressure on the Scottish Government to launch a nationwide consultation on the issue, despite insisting it has no plans to create a formal anthem for the country.

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The issue is complicated because there is no clear support for an alternative to Flower of Scotland, which was penned by the late Roy Williamson of the Corries in 1965 and has been sung before Scotland international rugby matches since 1989.

The SFA – which described Flower of Scotland as “hugely popular” among supporters when it launched its poll – said the reaction from supporters had been “incredible”.

But it admitted there had been a mixed response to its survey, with 60 per cent of members of its official Scotland Supporters Club actually voting against official recognition for Flower of Scotland.

Members of the club were initially e-mailed the online survey, before it was circulated to the wider public via Facebook and Twitter.

The second most popular option with the Tartan Army was Dougie MacLean’s iconic “homecoming” song Caledonia, which has been covered by the likes of Frankie Miller, Paolo Nutini, Amy Macdonald and Ronan Keating. The SFA said its survey had also thrown up strong support for alternatives like Scotland the Brave, which used to be played before international matches at Hampden, and terracing favourite I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers.

And the sports body said its survey had revealed there was “clearly an appetite” among a section of the supporters of the national team for a brand new anthem.

A spokesman said: “While the majority of responses were in ­favour of Flower of Scotland, there is also plenty food for thought in the feedback analysis.

“Interestingly, there was a marked difference between Scotland Supporters Club respondents and the social media view. While 65 per cent of the 23,000 social media responses were in favour of official recognition, 60 per cent of the 12,606 SSC respondents were not in favour.”

The full survey results from the SFA’s poll will be sent to the Scottish Parliament’s petitions committee, which has recommended the Scottish Government consider options for an official anthem.

Hamish Husband, spokesman for the Association of Tartan Army Supporters Clubs, said: “It’s no surprise to hear that Flower of Scotland won this poll, although I’m surprised that it wasn’t more popular. I think what these results do show is that Flower of Scotland is not a universal choice to be the national anthem of Scotland. I’m not particularly bothered about Flower of Scotland becoming the national anthem and a lot of other people feel like that.

“I’m happy to see it retained for international matches as a stirring battle cry on the sporting field. As it stands, there are no other contenders.”